HomeNewsBriefMoney Runs Out for Belize Gang Truce
BRIEF

Money Runs Out for Belize Gang Truce

BELIZE / 24 DEC 2012 BY JEREMY MCDERMOTT EN

The Belize government, struggling to meet national debt payments, has ended its controversial gang truce program, a measure almost certain to result in increased violence and homicides in 2013.

After spending more than $1 million, the Belize government announced that funding for the gang truce had dried up, reported Belize Times. The last payment was scheduled for this month. Begun in September 2011, the gang truce provided work opportunities for some 200 gang members, essentially paying them not to kill each other, at a cost of around $20,000 a week.

The truce led to an immediate drop in homicides, even though there were some isolated outbreaks of gang violence, particularly in April and May 2012. However none of the government money went into finding long-term solutions to address Belize's gang problem.

InSight Crime Analysis

Inspired in part by the Mara truce in El Salvador, the Belize program took a different direction. Whereas in El Salvador the truce was brokered by the Catholic Church, and involved better prison conditions for gang leaders, in Belize the government effectively paid the 13 gangs in the program not to engage in criminal activities. This caused controversy, with critics insisting there were far more deserving targets for the funds, and better social investment projects that would have a longer lasting impact.

While the gang truce certainly lead to a reduction in violence, it may have actually strengthened some of the gangs, which better organized themselves to take advantage of the government subsidies. While there is the presence of both the powerful Central American gangs, Mara Salvatrucha and Barrio 18, most of the Belize gangs style themselves after the US Bloods and Crips. The most powerful street gang in Belize is believed to be the George Street Bloods. Other Bloods gangs include Kings Park Posse, P.I.V., The Jungle, and Brick City, while the Crips have Majestic Alley Crips, River-Side Crips, Ghost Town Crips and Third World.

The tiny nation of Belize is becoming increasingly important as a transit nation for cocaine heading northwards to Mexico and the principal market of the US. There is not yet any evidence of Belizean Street gangs getting involved in the transnational element of the drug industry, although they do make money from the local distribution of drugs, particularly marijuana.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

BELIZE / 1 MAR 2021

A recent drug plane interception in Belize has unveiled the role corrupt officials have been playing in facilitating the nation's…

BELIZE / 2 JUN 2022

Since El Salvador's government began a campaign of mass arrests two months ago in a gang crackdown, fewer than 60…

BELIZE / 17 SEP 2021

Despite improving homicide statistics, Belize continues to regularly declare states of emergency due to crime rates. But do these actually…

About InSight Crime

WORK WITH US

Open Position: Full Stack WordPress Developer

28 NOV 2022

As Full Stack WordPress Developer You Will: Work collaboratively with other developers and designers to maintain and improve organizational standards.Demonstrate a high level of attention to detail, and implement best…

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime ON AIR

4 NOV 2022

InSight Crime Co-director Steven Dudley was interviewed for the podcast The Rosenberg Case: A Tale of Murder, Corruption, and Conspiracy in Guatemala, which explores the potential involvement of then president, Álvaro Colom,…